Future of Work

Why 'ghosting' is becoming a problem in the job world

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Speaking up for yourself if a hiring company "ghosts" you is important says Jane Ashen Turkewitz. Image: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Julie Bort
Editor, Business Insider
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Jane Ashen Turkewitz has been a recruiter in the advertising and tech industry for more than 15 years and has become increasingly appalled at how rude hiring companies can be to prospective employees after interviewing them.

Turkewitz now runs her own recruiting firm, .comRecruiting.com, in part because of the level of insensitivity she saw. "I was sick of it all. I thought that we needed to do it all in a more empathetic way," she told Business Insider.

Case in point: she recently wrote a post on LinkedIn that has gone viral. In it, she dared to suggest that if a hiring company "ghosts" you after putting you through multiple interviews, you should speak up for yourself and let them know it's not ok.

By "ghosting" she means that:

1. You've already done multiple interviews and perhaps completed sample tasks for them;

2. They were previously responding to your emails;

3. You've sent multiple polite emails or made multiple phone calls for about a month after your last interview, and no one has responded to any of them.

4. You've given up on the job and are ready to move on.

Have you read?

Make yourself feel better ... or not?

If you are feeling dejected about such a situation (and really, who wouldn't be?), sending such an email won't help you get the job. But it might make you feel better, "and that's a valid reason right there," Turkewitz says.

The email should be polite but firm. Here's her suggested text:

"I would like to thank you for the opportunity to interview for the role of X. I was surprised, after my 7 rounds of interviews, to not hear anything regardless of my attempts to stay engaged.

Due to the lack of response, it's a fair assumption that you have decided to move in another direction. While I am disappointed, I certainly respect if someone more qualified entered the picture.

That said, isn't it common courtesy to let a candidate know where he stands in the process, even if it's a difficult conversation? A rejection is disappointing but 'ghosting' shows a lack of leadership and empathy.

I hope one day, if you are in my shoes, interviewing for a new, exciting job, that you are not treated in such an unkind manner. Wishing you and yours continued success as I find success elsewhere."

This post with her sample email has been shared over 165,000 times on LinkedIn, liked by over 1,100 and received nearly 200 comments, which confirms to Turkewitz what she's seen in her own career: that "ghosting happens a lot," she says.

Turkewitz says she's been surprised by the comments. Many people didn't agree with her that they should speak up in this way.

"I definitely think ghosting is poor etiquette, but I would be cautious about sending a passive aggressive response. I think it's best to chalk it up to a loss (or possibly a gain) and move on," one person responded.

But Turkewitz believes that if you're ready to kiss the job off anyway, speaking up is ok and might do the next person some good.

"If it were me and somebody wrote me a note like that, I would be mortified. I wouldn’t be angered as if someone burned a bridge. I would be thinking, 'They met with 3 or more people and nobody got back to them? That’s a problem. Something is broken here,'" she said.

Turkewitz does caution not to be quite so firm if the company never responds after a single interview. While that's still rude of them, in her opinion, it is also very, very common.

She suggests a note more like this: "I would like to thank for opportunity the interview. I’m assuming you are moving forward in another direction."

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